Is there a way of testing a motherboard?

  Woody Ham 19:50 30 Dec 2005

My computer will not boot up. I have now altered the setup to boot first from CDROM and inserted the XP disc. It goes through the motions up to "Do you want to install XP or repair etc" and whatever option is selected, it re-boots and takes me back to the same screen.

When I put my HD into another machine as a slave, I can see and access all the files so I'm assuming that the HD is not at fault (otherthan not booting up my machine!). Someone suggests it might be the motherboard: is there a way of checking before I go down that road?

  ade.h 19:54 30 Dec 2005

It might well be that the hard-disk is unbootable. I've had a few fail that way over the years, so it's not uncommon.

  007al 19:56 30 Dec 2005

Does the hard drive light flash when you turn your pc on?
Have you checked the connections at both ends of the drive are fully inserted?

  ade.h 19:58 30 Dec 2005

If it's not flashing, the either the light connector is out or the motherboard is not making any attempt to access the drive. If the light is working, then see above.

  woodchip 20:00 30 Dec 2005

If you get something like text on screen there is nothing wrong with your Motherboard. Windows is corrupt.

Have you tried getting into Safe Mode by keep tapping F5 as computer boots, if you can, Run System Restore to a old date

  Woody Ham 20:05 30 Dec 2005

Great to have such prompt replies. The light does flash on the CD drive and I get perfectly good stuff on the screen allowing me to get into setup etc. I will try safe mode.

  ade.h 20:11 30 Dec 2005

We weren't thinking of the light on your optical drive; that doesn't relate to your problem. It's the hard-disk access light on the front panel of the case that you need to check on.

  ade.h 20:13 30 Dec 2005

Your PC won't boot from the hard-disk.

The disk is accessible as a slave.

Still sounds like an unbootable hard-disk to me. All the symptoms match.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:16 30 Dec 2005

If you motherboard,cpu,psu,graphicss were faulty you would not get as far as loading the XP CD.

So this is a bad sector on the drive probably corrupted one of your boot files

Boot with XP CD into recovery consul and type fixboot and press enter

also type fixmbr

Run a chk disk

Using Recovery Consul
click here
click here

  ade.h 20:31 30 Dec 2005

If it's the hardware of the drive - the part that boots - that has failed then the disk will not be usable except as a slave. When you connect it as a slave to extract your files, you may find that it will become usable as a master again, just for one or two boots. In my experience, the process of accessing a drive whose boot hardware has failed can breath some life into it. Don't ask me how, but it often does. But like I say, you'll only get one or two boots before it fails again, and it will be permanent then, so don't rely on it.

The two most common causes of this kind of damage are, in my experience, a power cut or mishandling of the drive during fitting. If you expose a hard-disk to static charge, it will often appear to be unharmed, but the lifespan will have been severly compromised.

If it is the boot sector that is at fault, then you are lucky and you should follow Fruitbat's advice to try to repair it.

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